Youth Parade Celebrates Pioneers “Forging a New Frontier”

Contributed By Abby Jennings, Church News staff writer

  • 22 July 2015

The Primary general presidency—Cheryl A. Esplin, left, Rosemary M. Wixom, and Mary R. Durham—wave during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City.  Photo by Stacie Scott.

Article Highlights

  • This year’s theme, Pioneers Forging a New Frontier, was displayed in 49 different ways, 20 of which were submitted by stakes in the area.
  • Five thousand children participated in the parade, which has been a yearly tradition since 1938.
  • Four awards are given out each year to floats that display the pioneer spirit.

“It’s good to see kids who have so much technology every day get so much pleasure from something that isn’t technology but is remembering the people who founded this state.” —Greg James, member of the Days of ’47 board of trustees and a former president of the organization

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH

The spirit of family and heritage filled the morning air at the Union Pacific Youth Parade on July 18. The parade, which is one of the largest youth parades in the nation, celebrates the pioneers coming to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 and kicks off the weeklong Days of ’47 celebration.

This year’s theme, Pioneers Forging a New Frontier, was displayed in different ways in all 49 entries, 20 of which were submitted by stakes in the area. Five thousand children participated in the parade, which has been a yearly tradition since 1938.

Utah natives Tim Christofferson and his daughter, Lisa, were the parade announcers and started the day off by sharing the story of how the pioneers came to Utah.

Some floats featured photographs of pioneer ancestors. Others displayed technology of modern days, representing today’s pioneers. Other floats celebrated family history by pioneer clothing or native dress from Mexico, Peru, and the Pacific Islands.

Greg James, who is on the Days of ’47 board of trustees and is a former president of the organization, said the parade has a “marvelous family spirit.” He enjoys seeing the children get excited about celebrating their ancestry in a time where it could easily be forgotten. “It’s good to see kids who have so much technology every day get so much pleasure from something that isn’t technology but is remembering the people who founded this state,” he said.

Codie Taylor of the Copperview 3rd Ward, Riverton Utah Copperview Stake, was attending the parade for the first time to watch her son participate. “Just the opportunity for the kids to do it is fun,” she said.

Four awards are given out each year to floats that display the pioneer spirit. The Legacy Award went to the Sandy Utah Hillcrest Stake. The Spirit of Faith Award went to the Midvale Utah North Stake. The Theme Award went to the South Jordan Utah River Ridge Stake. The Wasatch Stake received the Utah Award.

Nesha Smith of the Wasatch 3rd Ward, Salt Lake Wasatch Stake, walked in the parade with her two daughters. Their float, which was the Utah Award winner, featured a glittery beehive and sights from around the state She called getting the award a “great accomplishment” for their stake.

Participating youth and parade goers were asked to bring one canned food item to the event for the Utah Food Bank. Parade organizer Jodene Smith said, “We’re trying to get the kids to realize the pioneer children didn’t always have food when they were walking, and we asked them to bring food for children of today who they can help out.”

The “Pioneering into the Digital Age” float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The West Jordan Utah Westland Stake is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Days of ’47 royalty wave during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Lake Ridge School Honor Guard carries the flag during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Copper Hills High School marching band performs during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Participants representing different Latin American countries walk during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Jasmine Aguilar walks with a group representing different Latin American countries during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Kids walk behind the Centerville Utah Stake float during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Centerville Utah Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Bennion Utah West Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Kids wave and walk behind the Bennion Utah West Stake float during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Eric Loresen marches along with the Stansbury High School marching band during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Salt Lake Winder West Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Ian Colton, right, dances along behind the Salt Lake Winder West Stake float during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The “Small Hands Serving the New Frontier” float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Wasatch Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Kids walk behind the Sandy Utah Willow Creek Stake float during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Kids walk behind the South Jordan Utah River Ridge Stake float during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Princesses glide through the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Midvale Utah North Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Regal Majesty Pageant waves during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The South Jordan Utah Highland Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The West Bountiful Utah Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Kids in the “Pioneers 50th Year in America” group hold hands as they walk through the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Riverton Utah South Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Ashleigh Flores, 10, right, performs a Peruvian dance with her group during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Sandy Utah Hillcrest Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Murray Utah Little Cottonwood Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Salt Lake Big Cottonwood Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Kids run along behind the Salt Lake Big Cottonwood Stake float during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Draper Utah Corner Canyon Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Ian Colton dances along behind the Salt Lake Winder West Stake float during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Riverton Utah Copperview Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Swiss Miss royalty wave during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Sandy Utah Willow Creek Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The South Jordan Utah River Ridge Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The Taylorsville Utah South Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

The West Jordan Utah Oquirrh Stake float is pictured during the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.

Families scream at the request of a clown in the Days of ’47 Union Pacific Railroad Youth Parade on Saturday, July 18, 2015, in Salt Lake City. Photo by Stacie Scott.